Derby points preps lead 15 weekend graded stakes
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The road to Kentucky Derby 2023 stops at Aqueduct and Gulfstream this weekend with points races in the Grade 3 Withers and Holy Bull.
Santa Anita and Gulfstream have busy calendars, and in one Santa Anita stakes, Bob Baffert has all four entries.
Here’s an early look at the likely fields.
Withers (G3), Aquaduct, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds, 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby Qualifying Points
Hit Show, rerouted here from the Southwest (G3), is 2-for-3 and finished fourth in his only trip beyond a mile. After a 9 1/4-length debut victory in October, Mr. Ripple third by a nose last out in an optional claim allowance at Gulfstream. Arctic Arrogance has a record of 5:2-3-0, but his last two losses each came by only half a length in the Jerome and the Remsen (G2).
Holy Bull (G3), Gulfstream, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds, 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby Qualifying Points
Legacy Isle crossed the line first in the Mucho Macho Man but was disqualified for interference. That run came after a 2-for-2 start. Lord Miles broke his maiden on debut by 5 3/4 lengths and missed second by a neck in the Mucho Macho Man. West Coast Cowboy was fighting for his debut win, finishing fourth in an optional-claim allowance.
Forward Gal (G3), Gulfstream, 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies, 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Oaks Qualifying Points
Lynx won her first three, but then was second and third in Gulfstream stakes. Atomically beats Lynx by 6 3/4 lengths in one of those stakes and then finishes seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last out.
Kitten’s Joy (G3), Gulfstream, 1 1/16 miles (grass), 3-year-olds
Candidate has won three in a row, including the Dania Beach last out over others expected here. Boppy O, winner of the With Anticipation (G3) last summer at Saratoga, switches back to turf after finishing ninth in the Street Sense (G3).
Swale (G3), Gulfstream, 7 furlongs, 3-year-olds
General Jim has two wins in five starts, and both of them were on grass. Super Chow is 5-for-6, with his only loss a third-place finish in the Saratoga Special (G2). Two of a Kind won his first two races last spring and returned this month to finish third in the Limehouse Stakes.
Sweetest Chant (G3), Gulfstream, 1 1/16 miles (grass), 3-year-old colts
Cairo Consort, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, bounced back to win the Ginger Brew last. Stephanie’s Charm was half a length back in that race to finish second after winning just one of her first seven starts.
Bayakoa (G3), Oaklawn, 1 1/16 miles, mares and mares, 4-year-olds and older
Powder River has finished in the money in her last 10 starts, dating back to October 2021, but has just one win in that stretch and will attempt her first graded stakes. Lovely Ride has one two in a row, including last out in the Pippin, where Ice Orchid was second and Le Da Vida third.
Tampa Bay Stakes (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (grass), 4-year-olds and up
After going winless in his last seven starts – all stakes – Mighty Heart won an optional-claim allowance race here last. Emmanuel has won three of his six career starts and would have his first race since the Aug. 6 Saratoga Derby (G1), where he finished 10th.
Endeavor (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (grass), fillies and fillies, 4-year-olds and older
Amazingly has won three of six career starts at six tracks and is coming off a second-last result in the Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream. Sugar Fix was third last out in the Sunshine Filly and Mare Turf Stakes and is winless in her last four starts. Oliviaofthedesert rallied to win by a head last in the Blushing KD
Robert B. Lewis (G3), Santa Anita, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds
Bob Baffert has all four runners here, led by Newgate, winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in September and second in the Bob Hope (G3) and Sham (G3) his last two starts. Arabian Lion is 1-for-3 after fading in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) last month.
Santa Monica (G2), Santa Anita, 7 fields, mares and mares, 4-year-olds and older
Baffert’s fun to dream is 5-for-6, with a win in the La Brea (G1) last out over Ontwaak at Midnyte, also entered here. Lady T’s win in the Las Flores (G3) last out was her first score in five starts since breaking her first maiden in May.
Thunder Road (G3), Santa Anita, 1 mile (turf), 4-year-olds and up
Air Force Red has won his last two, including the Joe Hernandez (G2) last out over others entered here. Bob and Jackie came off a nearly nine-month layoff to finish fifth in the San Gabriel (G2) last out.
Megahertz (G3), Santa Anita, 1 mile (grass), mares and mares, 4-year-olds and older
Closing Remarks finished second last in the Robert J. Frankel (G3) after a nine-month layoff. In her only graded starts, Bay Storm finished second in the Mint Ladies Sprint (G3) and third last out in the Suwanee River (G3).
San Marcos (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/4 miles (grass), 4-year-olds and older
Say the Word would be making his first start since finishing third in this event a year ago. First through fourth place in the San Gabriel (G2) is expected here, led by half-length winner Dicey Mo Chara.
Palos Verdes (G3), Santa Anita, 6 fields, 4-year-olds and older
CZ Rocket could return here for his 9-year-old season after finishing second in his last two starts, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2). The latter was won by Howbeit, also expected here. Forbidden Kingdom was second in the Malibu (G1) last out after giving up his lead past the quarter pole.